Jan 4, 2017

Who is Charles Manson? Profile of the 'seriously ill' notorious cult leader who orchestrated seven murders

Charles Manson - who has reportedly been taken out of prison for hospital treatment - ordered his followers to murder a string of victims in 1969

4 JAN 2017

He is one of the world's most notorious serial killers, responsible for orchestrating the murders of a pregnant film star and six others.

Cult leader Charles Manson is currently serving life in prison after ordering his followers to carry out the horrific killings in 1969.
Among his victims were heavily- pregnant actress Sharon Tate - the wife of movie director Roman Polanski - and celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring.

Writer Wojciech Frykowski, his partner and coffee bean heiress Abigail Folger, and 18-year-old Steven Parent were also slayed in the US-based attacks.

Manson - who led the infamous "Manson Family", a quasi-commune in the Californian desert - was convicted over the seven murders in 1971.
During the bloody crimes, his followers stabbed and shot to death Tate, Sebring, Frykowski, Folger and Parent at Tate's Los Angeles home.

The following night, they slaughtered supermarket boss Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, at the couple's house in the Los Feliz area.

Manson was sentenced to death, along with three of his followers, after being found guilty of orchestrating the multiple killings.

A fifth defendant, Charles "Tex" Watson, was later convicted and handed the same sentence.

However, they were all spared execution after the death penalty was abolished in California in 1972 following a US Supreme Court ruling.

Manson - who famously appeared in court with an "X" carved into his forehead - is now serving nine life sentences at a prison in Kings County.

At the time of his crimes, the killer believed he would start a race war, prosecutors said.

He reportedly listened to the Beatles' White Album repeatedly after its release in 1968 - and believed the lyrics to "Helter Skelter" backed his theory.

He told the "Manson Family" battles would rage between whites and blacks, but that they would be saved by going underground - literally.

He said they should travel to a city of gold located in Death Valley.

Nearly 50 years later, Manson remains locked up at the male-only Corcoran State Prison. He is not eligible to apply for parole until 2027.

Last night, it was reported that the murderer has been taken out of the facility for hospital treatment in Bakersfield, a city around 100 miles away.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said privacy laws prevented them from commenting on inmates' health.

However, the LA Times quoted sources as saying Manson is "seriously ill".

During his time behind bars, Manson has been denied parole 12 times.

He has had 108 serious disciplinary violations in prison and has shown no remorse for the murders, according to the California Parole Board.

In 2014, he was granted permission to marry 26-year-old Afton Elaine Burton, also known as Star, who had been visiting him behind bars.

However, the pair's marriage licence expired in February 2015.

Despite his horrific killings, Manson, originally from Ohio, has become a cult figure, with followers and fans around the world.

He is thought to receive more mail than any other inmate in history, reportedly getting more than 60,000 letters every year.

Born in 1934 to an unmarried teenage mum, Manson had a troubled childhood.

For weeks, he was known as “no name Maddox” until his 16-year-old mother, Kathleen Maddox, decided on the name Charles.

He took on his well-known surname after Kathleen married labourer William Manson.

The killer spent much of his youth in and out of prison. His siblings later said he was a manipulative child who constantly lied and had a penchant for violence.

In the late '60s, Manson established himself as hippie guru in San Francisco, gathering a number of followers, mostly women, who were known as his "Family".

When the racial Armageddon he predicted failed to occur, he said he and his followers must show people how to kill.

In August 1969, he ordered a small group of his dedicated followers to visit the Hollywood home of Tate and Polanski.

There, they murdered the pregnant actress, as well Sebring, Frykowski, Folger and Parent, before fleeing the house.

The following night, the followers butchered the La Biancas.

Police found Mr La Bianca with a knife lodged in his throat, twelve stab wounds, and seven pairs of fork wounds. The word "WAR" had been carved on his stomach.

Mrs La Bianca was found with multiple stab wounds in her chest and neck.

On the La Bianca's living room wall, written in blood, were the words "DEATH TO PIGS" and "RISE." On the refrigerator door was written: "HEALTER SKELTER."

Leslie Van Houten was later convicted of holding down Mrs La Bianca while an accomplice stabbed her to death. She had come to view Manson as Jesus Christ.

In 2002, she told a parole board she was "deeply ashamed" of her role in the killings.

"I take very seriously not just the murders but what made me make myself available to someone like Manson," she said.

Before the killings, Manson, who has been married twice and is thought to have two children, was on the fringe of California's music scene.

He even hung out with Beach Boy Brian Wilson and Doris Day’s son Terry Melcher.

After his arrest, several songs written and recorded by him were released. Marilyn Manson and Guns N' Roses have both released cover versions of the killer's songs.

Manson has also had an influence on fashion, films and TV programmes.


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